Funny how things work.
Going into Thursday’s series wrap up contest with the Mets, Paul Maholm was 2-7. With an ERA of 3.18. That’s not a typo . . . 3.18. He’s been pitching out of his mind to start the season, but the offense seemingly refused to provide run support. Yet Maholm went on, day in and day out, quality start after quality start, giving his team a chance to win.
Inevitably, someone invited Murphy to lay down the law yesterday afternoon. The Mets’ Daniel Murphy, I suppose. Little bugger caused all kinds of havoc for the Bucs this series. Regardless, the runs just came crashing in on Maholm. Wouldn’t you know the day the lineup fluffs a seven run cushion for Maholm to sit on, he blew it.
Bound to happen, I say. The starting pitchers were not going to sustain the mind-blowing 1.67 ERA they had logged in the thirteen games prior to Thursday’s collapse. At some point, the feeble offense of late had to buck up and make something happen. And unfortunately for Paul Maholm, he couldn’t hold it together when they did.
You win some, you lose some, right? All the matters is how you respond. Unlike last year, or the year before that, or the year before that, or . . . let’s just say “in a long time”, this is a team primed to galvanize. I feel as if there are leaders within the clubhouse at both managerial and player level that this Pittsburgh team hasn’t had in many years. Obviously, Hurdle brings confidence and a steady, even keeled cornerstone of attitude to the ebbs and flows of a very long season, and a veteran “been here before” energy comes from Lyle Overbay. And I’d be remiss to not mention the noticeable spark from call up, Josh Harrison. I’m really liking this kid.
BUT what can’t be overlooked or underestimated, is the consistent performance and unwavering presence of Neil Walker. I think he can take the club on his back. It’s his hometown team. He doesn’t say die. I’m sure there’s a fuel to his fire that not only inspires him, but also rubs off on his teammates. At least it should.
The PA Turnpike Series begins tonight. Here’s that opportunity to respond. Let’s see if the pitching can recreate some of its recent magic and if the bats can stay hot. They’ll need both to come out with a series victory against the Phillies.
Time to galvanize, Buccos.
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